Mike Florio Puts NFL on Blast After Kirk Cousins Poo Poo’s Tampering Allegations

Kirk Cousins, Atlanta Falcons
Photo via the Atlanta Falcons (@Falcons - X)Credit: Photo via the Atlanta Falcons (@Falcons - X)

Kirk Cousins spent six seasons as the Minnesota Vikings‘ starting quarterback, and if it weren’t for the Atlanta Falcons, he might be getting prepared for his seventh year in purple and gold.

While the Vikings are happy to move on to the J.J. McCarthy era, we’ll never know what may have happened had the Falcons not swooped in with a four-year, $180 million contract offer with $100M guaranteed.

But there was something fishy about the way Cousins made a mad dash to the ATL once the ‘legal tampering’ period of free agency got underway. Almost too fishy.

Then Cousins blew the watergates wide open when he essentially admitted the Falcons committed multiple violations of the NFL’s tampering policy during his introductory press conference in Atlanta. But Cousins doesn’t see it that way.

Mike Florio blows up at NFL’s lazy Falcons Kirk Cousins tampering investigation

Kirk Cousins
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, when speaking to the Falcons media again, Atlanta’s new starting QB was asked about the NFL’s ongoing tampering investigation, and Cousins tried to act like there’s “nothing to see here” on that front.

“The league’s still kind of going through that. So, I’ll let them do it. But there’s not a whole lot there.”

Kirk Cousins on NFL’s tampering investigation

Okay, that’s fine, Kirk, but not everyone agrees. Specifically, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, who has a staunch belief that “There is a whole lot there. If the league wants to find it”.

Not only does Florio disagree with Kirk Cousins’ notion that there isn’t a lot to the ongoing tampering investigation, he suggests the NFL just isn’t trying as hard to discipline the Falcons when compared to going after the Patriots and Tom Brady for deflating footballs.

When Brady and the Patriots were under investigation for deflategate, he was supposed to hand his phone over to the NFL. He destroyed it instead. Indications are that Cousins hasn’t been asked to surrender his phone to anyone. Is the league even trying here?

Why wouldn’t he be [forced to hand in his phone]? If the league wants to get to the bottom of this, shouldn’t the league want Cousins’s phone, Pace’s phone, Pitts’s phone, the trainer’s phone, coach Raheem Morris’s phone, G.M. Terry Fontenot’s phone? Shouldn’t the league want to see security footage from the team facility to see whether Cousins was there before 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday?

In every case, the quality of the outcome of an investigation hinges on the quality of the investigation. If the NFL simply called the Falcons and asked, “Did you tamper?” of course there’s not going to be a whole lot there. But if the NFL went scorched earth on the question of, for example, whether someone took air out of footballs, how can it not go scorched earth now? That’s the problem with the league’s make-it-up-as-we-go approach. With no consistency, there’s no fairness.

Mike Florio on quality of NFL’s ongoing tampering investigation against the Falcons

Related: Annie Agar Takes Aim at Kirk Cousins’ New Employer

Florio notes multiple violations by Cousins, in order to prove his point.

  • Kirk admitted to speaking (and possibly meeting) with the Atlanta Falcons’ head athletic trainer during a period when direct communication between teams and free agents was forbidden.
  • Cousins also said he was in direct contact with Atlanta’s director of player personnel, likely in the same forbidden time frame.
  • Kirk admitted that Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts was recruiting him for several weeks, which could be a violation, depending on whether or not the Falcons knew about it.
  • Finally, Kirk also talked about how he himself phoned Darnell Mooney, in an effort to recruit him to sign with Atlanta as a free agent too.

But as Florio notes, the league “has to want to find violations” if they are going to go forward in punishing Kirk Cousins. If they want to let this issue die and long be forgotten, they can. Having Falcons executive Rich McKay serve on the NFL’s competition committee could be a factor too.

Related: Vikings Told Kirk Cousins on Draft Night 2021 That They Were Thinking QB in 1st Round

While some sort of reward is possible, the Vikings likely wouldn’t benefit from whatever penalties the Falcons may face. Yet, Minnesota did still lose it’s starting quarterback, and Atlanta may have cheated the system to get theirs. Is that really fair?

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